Building Character

Throne-of-Grace-Hebrews_-4_16Living in the Spirit
May 20, 2016

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1-5

…we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
–Romans 5:3b-5

How do we facilitate the building of resilient followers of Christ without creating rigid, fearful Christians wrapped in the stone of salvation-protection that may actually be self-protection? In our scripture today Paul describes that exact process, surely identified through the challenges of life he had faced.

I think, we need to revisit the gift of grace poured out in full measure by God. It is pretty incomprehensible to humans, particularly those of us who are strong adherents to the theory that we must pull ourselves up from our own boot straps. In reality I do not thing there has ever been a human born who has accomplished that. Even Jesus knew the total dependence on loving parents. Yet, there it is, God has covenanted with us to love us not because of what we do and often in spite of what we do.

Some years ago I heard a son interviewed on the evening news after learning that his parents had been killed on a trip apparently by a man to whom they had offered assistance. While the death of his parents was a tremendous loss to him, his reaction was striking, he said something to the effect that his parents lived with the presence of God all the time. They died doing what they thought God would want them to do and he was sure they were at peace with whatever happened.

We are called to live the love of God within the framework of God’s abiding grace and in so doing let God mold us into hope-filled characters working to bring God’s freeing love to every human.

“Lord, we are able.” Our spirits are thine.
Remold them, make us, like thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
a beacon to God, to love, and loyalty.*

Prayer: Lord, we have trouble grasping the enormity of your grace. Let it fill in the gaps until we are whole and able to bring hope to a fragmented world. Amen.

*Chorus from the hymn, Are Ye Able, words by Earl Marlatt see at

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights